Over 17,000 Kids Recruited into South Sudan Conflict—UNICEF
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
According to new figures released by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), some 1,300 children were recruited by armed forces and armed groups in 2016, bringing the total number of children used in conflict since 2013 to more than 17,000.
“Since the first day of this conflict, children have been the ones most devastatingly affected by the violations,” said Leila Gharagozloo-Pakkala, UNICEF’s Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa.
“Now, as the fighting intensifies – and despite repeated pledges by all to end child recruitment – children are once again being targeted,” she added.
The Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and SPLA in Opposition have both signed agreements with the UN in order to end and prevent the recruitment and use of children in the conflict.
So far, 1,932 children have been released by armed forces: 1,755 in 2015 and 177 this year.
Nonetheless, UNICEF reports that violations against children have continued to occur since 2013, including 2,342 who have been killed or maimed, 3,090 who have been abducted, and 1,130 sexually assaulted. There have also been 303 attacks or military use of schools and hospitals.
Since November, the UN has documented at least 50 children who have been abducted and recruited in the Greater Upper Nile region. Additional reports indicate that another 50 have been recruited in the Greater Bahr el Ghazal region and that violations against children have occurred in the Greater Equatorias area, but due to the high level of insecurity and restricted access, the UN has been unable to verify such claims.
In addition to the ongoing armed conflict, South Sudan is suffering an economic crisis that has brought inflation to more than 800 per cent, leading to widespread food insecurity and childhood malnutrition at emergency levels throughout most of the country.
UNICEF and its partners have treated 184,000 children with severe cases of malnutrition this year – an increase of 50 per cent from last year and more than 135 per cent higher from 2014.
“UNICEF’s concern is that with the prospect of increased hostilities and atrocities, the suffering that children have endured will have no end,” said Ms Gharagozloo-Pakkala. “The children of South Sudan must no longer live under constant fear of hunger or conflict. They need sustained peace, care and support.”
South Sudan has faced ongoing challenges since a political face-off between President Salva Kiir and his Vice-President Riek Machar erupted into full blown conflict in December 2013. The crisis has produced one of the world’s worst displacement situations with immense suffering for civilians.
Despite the August 2015 peace agreement that formally ended the war, conflict and instability have also spread to previously unaffected areas in the Greater Equatoria and Greater Bahr-El-Ghazal regions of South Sudan.
The UN Mission in South Sudan, known as UNMISS, has been operating in the country since 2011. Just hours before it was set to expire, the Security Council this evening voted unanimously to extend the Mission’s mandate for one day and is expected to come back to the matter tomorrow afternoon.
Tinubu Travelled Abroad to Rest, Will Return Soon–Aide
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The office of the president-elect has confirmed that Mr Bola Tinubu has jetted out of Nigeria for a rest in the United Kingdom and France ahead of his swearing-in ceremony slated for May 29, 2023.
An online platform on Wednesday reported that the winner of the February 25 presidential election travelled to Europe for urgent medical attention.
But in a statement issued by one of his aides, Mr Tunde Rahman, it was emphasized that the former Governor of Lagos State only left the country to have a rest in London and Paris before going to Saudi Arabia for lesser hajj.
It was disclosed that Mr Tinubu travelled out of Nigeria on Tuesday night via the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA) Ikeja Lagos.
“After a very exhaustive campaign and election season, President-elect, Asíwájú Bola Tinubu, has travelled abroad to rest and plan his transition programme ahead of May 29, 2023 inauguration.
“The President-elect left the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja, for Europe on Tuesday night.
“The President-elect decided to take a break after the hectic campaign and election season to rest in Paris and London, preparatory to going to Saudi Arabia for Umrah (Lesser Hajj) and the Ramadan Fasting that begins Thursday.
“While away, the President-elect will also use the opportunity to plan his transition programme.
“He is expected back in the country soon.
“We enjoin the media to stop publishing rumours and unsubstantiated claims and to always seek clarifications from our office,” the statement said.
INEC Declares Labour Party’s Alex Otti Abia Governor-Elect
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The candidate of the Labour Party in the governorship election in Abia State, Mr Alex Otti, has been declared as the winner of the exercise by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The former banker polled a total of 175,467 votes to defeat his closest rival in the poll, Mr Okey Ahiwe of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who garnered 88,529 votes.
The Abia State governorship election was earlier declared inconclusive by the electoral umpire due to issues arising from over-voting. The collation centre had to be moved to Abuja from Umuahia, the state capital.
The governor-elect, in a short post via his verified Twitter handle, reacted to the development by saying, “See what the Lord has done.”
Mr Otti left the banking industry a few years ago after serving as the managing director of the defunct Diamond Bank, which merged with Access Bank. He left his office in the bank to pursue his political ambition in 2015, but he failed until he succeeded in 2023.
Cash Scarcity: NLC Orders Workers to Embark on Strike
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has directed public sector workers in the country to embark on strike beginning from Wednesday, March 29, 2023.
President of the union, Mr Joe Ajaero, gave this directive at a media briefing at Labour House in Abuja on Wednesday, March 22.
He also directed affiliate unions of the NLC to be on standby for a picketing exercise across all branches of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) nationwide.
The union leader said the directive became imperative following the expiration of a one-week ultimatum given to the apex bank to make cash available for Nigerians.
The scarcity has heightened with plans by the central bank to mop up the old Naira in circulation. The apex bank recently said it had removed N2.3 trillion from circulation between October 2022 and February 2023 while printing fewer new notes.
Business Post reported that between October last year and February 2023, the cash in circulation dropped to N982.09 billion from N3.29 trillion.
This is one of the factors that has extended the scarcity of the Naira and have also prolonged it into March.
Despite the Supreme Court judgement on March 3, 2023, that the old Naira remain legal until December 31, 2023, new notes have not reached many households with the old notes and new notes difficult to acquire.
With the cash in circulation dropping and the currency in commercial banks’ vaults or that of the CBN rising, Nigerians still find it difficult to access the money deposited in their accounts despite the ruling that the new and old notes should co-exist for 10 months.
Latest News on Business Post
- Local Stock Exchange Extends Growth by 0.06% Amid Weak Sentiment March 23, 2023
- FrieslandCampina Lifts NASD OTC Market by 0.07% at Midweek March 23, 2023
- Oil Prices Rise $1 as Greenback Drops on US Rate Hike March 23, 2023
- Naira Rebounds, Strengthens Against Dollar at FX Market Segments March 23, 2023
- Tinubu Travelled Abroad to Rest, Will Return Soon–Aide March 22, 2023
- Anxiety as The Voice Africa Hits Airwaves March 26 March 22, 2023
- INEC Declares Labour Party’s Alex Otti Abia Governor-Elect March 22, 2023
- Cash Scarcity: NLC Orders Workers to Embark on Strike March 22, 2023
- Davido Picks Classic Songs for Spotify Timeless Afro Playlist March 22, 2023
- Progress in Nigeria’s Economy in Post-Recession Excites Emefiele March 22, 2023